Preparing for a Room Addition

The kids are getting older (and bigger) and your house seems to be shrinking. You want to work at home, but there’s no place to get enough privacy. You love to entertain, but your house just isn’t laid out for it. You’ve decided to welcome an elderly parent to live with you, but all the bedrooms are upstairs … and occupied. These are just some of the realities of modern life that drive some of our clients to consider and eventually add space to their homes. To find out if you’re destined for a room addition, even before you call a professional remodeler, consider these preliminary planning steps:

What do you need? A room addition is a big remodeling project, so it should have a purpose that truly solves a need that no other remodeling option can address. Figuring out that need (or needs) will go a long way toward determining the size, location, and overall scope of the addition. For instance, the need for a home office — driven by a telecommuting or self-employment opportunity — generally means a smaller addition in an out-of-the-way location for privacy. A family entertainment area, by contrast, will likely be a large, open space and easily accessible from the other main living areas of the house, such as the kitchen; it may also be best served by a half-bath and offer access to the outdoors.

What do you like? We recommend that our clients take time to create a “catalog” of photos and articles from magazines and newspapers that illustrate their tastes. For a professional remodeler, it is a valuable tool to creating and delivering a truly successful and satisfying addition.

Check with the neighbors and your HOA. Your goal for a room addition should be to bring your current house up to or maybe just beyond the value and features of your immediate neighborhood. Take a two-block tour of the homes around your house to get a sense of the standard in terms of size and assumed interior spaces; if it looks like someone has added on recently, ask them a few questions about that experience. It’s also important to get educated about any codes, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs) imposed by your neighborhood or homeowner’s association, if one exists.  You can also go online to your counties central appraisal district and see how your home’s appraised value compares to those on your street or neighborhood.  You need to know this so you decide how much of an investment your home will carry relative to value of others that surround you. 

Money matters. Before you contact a remodeling contractor, decide how much you want to invest in your room addition and where you’ll get the money to build it. We typically advise our clients to use the following concept to financially ballpark their project. Take the number of square feet you are adding and multiple by $150-200 per square foot. So a 400 square foot addition (about the size of a 2 car garage) would be approximately $60-80k. The reason for the range are all the unknowns like degree of finish out, flooring, lighting, the number of windows, plumbing requirements, HVAC requirements, sound proofing if a media room planned, adding stairs if a one story home, foundation requirements, structural reinforcements to the structure of you existing home etc etc etc. Establishing and understanding the ballpark is key. Next step is establishing how the project will be funded. Are you going to pursue financing (home equity loan or a home improvement loan), savings, a family loan, a gift, or some other combination of funding sources. Once you know your ballpark and the source of funding, share it with your contractor to make sure the both of you are one the same wavelength.

Warm regards,
John Todd
John Todd
Elite Remodeling
Showroom & Design Center

2930 Preston Road, Suite 980
Frisco, Texas, 75252
(972) 334-9800 – phone
(972) 334-9890 – fax

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